Free Ultrasound Services
A woman recieving free ultrasound serices

Free ultrasound services can be helpful for women in a variety of situations: those who are trying to conceive, those experiencing the early signs of pregnancy, those who recently had a birth control method fail, or those who are working through the aftermath of unprotected sex or even recovering after sexual assault. Whatever your story, our team at Willow Womens Center is here to listen and provide the services you need to better understand what is going on inside your body and what your options are as you consider next steps.

Our Limited Ultrasound Exams

Whether you are looking for peace of mind after unprotected sex or confirmation as you experience the early signs of pregnancy, ultrasound exams can help confirm or rule out pregnancy as early as six weeks since your last menstrual cycle.

Whether you are looking for peace of mind after unprotected sex or confirmation as you experience the early signs of pregnancy, ultrasound exams can help confirm or rule out pregnancy as early as six weeks since your last menstrual cycle.

Diagnostic ultrasound exams are used in early pregnancy to evaluate the health and development of the baby and monitor the progress of the pregnancy. While Willow Womens Center does not provide diagnostic ultrasounds, our exams will provide the following information:

  • confirm the presence of a viable pregnancy in women who believe they would be at least 6-8 weeks pregnant
  • measure the size of the fetus and estimate the gestational age and due date
  • identify the presence of a heartbeat and assess the viability of the pregnancy
  • identify ectopic pregnancy, which can be life-threatening and typically requires immediate medical attention

Ultrasound exams are safe and non-invasive. Since sonography does not use radiation, it poses no risk of harmful exposure to you or your developing baby.  Furthermore, under certain conditions, we can provide transvaginal ultrasound testing, which means the ultrasound probe is inserted into the vagina; this provides the clearest images of the embryo or fetus during the early stages of the first trimester. 

State-of-the-Art Equipment

Willow Womens Center offers state-of-the-art equipment so you have peace of mind when you schedule your ultrasound appointment. Cutting-edge equipment offers better accuracy, improved visualization, and added features for your comfort, all of which come together to help you make a more informed decision about your pregnancy. Let us share a little more about each of these benefits.

As ultrasound equipment has evolved over the last several decades, resolution and quality of the images has improved. The most advanced equipment provides the clearest images, making it easier for our team to provide you with the information you need to make a decision about your pregnancy. Better equipment means better accuracy.

Another benefit of this advanced technology is improved visualization, which helps you see the developing fetus earlier and more clearly. These images can help new mothers and fathers begin to develop a bond with their child and get excited for the ages and stages to come.

Finally, the newest ultrasound machines come with advancements that are designed for one purpose only: to make the exam more comfortable for you. While ultrasound has never been painful or uncomfortable in the first place, medical device companies continue to work to make the experience as comfortable as possible, so you can focus on everything you see and hear instead of what you feel.

clinic nurse completing intake for a female patient - free ultrasound services

Trained and Certified Staff

While having the right technology and equipment is important, having staff who are trained to operate it is just as critical. Willow Womens Center is staffed with compassionate professionals who are not only highly skilled in performing your ultrasound examination, but also sensitive to the complex feelings that accompany early pregnancy. Whether you are excited about your pregnancy or weighing your options, you can trust that the team at Willow Womens Center will lend an ear and offer judgment-free guidance and support as you work through this important decision.

Timely Appointments

At Willow Womens Center, we understand how important it is to see somebody right away when facing an unplanned pregnancy. In these cases, the decisions you will be faced with are often time-sensitive, which makes access to prompt and compassionate women’s services pivotal. We believe that same- and next-day appointments empower you to bring your most immediate concerns forward, get accurate information about your options, and most importantly, receive the support you need during what can be a very challenging time.

For that reason, we offer a variety of appointment times every day, which you can schedule by calling us at 608.312.2025, stopping by our clinic, or scheduling confidentially right on our website. At any given time, you can find an appointment the very next day, and in many cases, even same-day appointments are available during our operating hours (Monday through Wednesday, 9 AM to 4 PM).

Confidentiality Guaranteed

At Willow Womens Center, we recognize that pregnancy can be an intensely personal and emotional experience. Many of the women we serve choose to keep their pregnancy private until they have had time to come to terms with it, process their feelings, and make decisions about next steps. Choosing a women’s center that values privacy and confidentiality can empower you to confidently make educated decisions, protect your safety in abusive situations, and promote your well-being as you navigate this unfamiliar territory. At Willow Womens Center, your visit is always 100% confidential, known only to you and the team members who served you.

Schedule an appointment for free ultrasound services today.

Understanding Pregnancy Ultrasounds

A pregnancy ultrasound is a test that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images your healthcare providers can view on a computer monitor to give them information about your pregnancy. You might be wondering why a pregnancy ultrasound is necessary if you have not yet made a decision about your unexpected pregnancy. Ultrasound is beneficial because the images provide your medical team with important data, and this knowledge can give you the facts you need to make an informed decision about your pregnancy.

Types of Pregnancy Ultrasounds

Pregnancy ultrasounds include transabdominal, transvaginal, Level 2, 3D, doppler, and fetal echocardiography ultrasounds.

After a positive pregnancy test, you will likely receive:

Transabdominal ultrasound

Gel is placed on your abdomen, and a roller-like device (transducer) is moved over the gel on your abdomen. The transducer picks up soundwaves that produce images onto a computer screen.

Transvaginal ultrasound

A special, smaller transducer probe is lubricated with gel and gently placed into your vagina to obtain images. Transvaginal ultrasound is used primarily in early pregnancy.

Ways a Pregnancy Ultrasound Is Useful

To Determine Pregnancy Viability

Even if you have already decided upon abortion, you will need to know if your pregnancy is viable. A positive pregnancy test result tells you that the hCG pregnancy hormone was detected in your urine. However, it does not mean you have a viable pregnancy.

According to the March of Dimes, as many as half of all pregnancies end in miscarriage: 80% of those occur in the first trimester — or the first twelve weeks. So, after a positive pregnancy test result, you will need to confirm your pregnancy is viable by ultrasound. A viable pregnancy is one that is expected to continue and result in childbirth (if no other steps are taken).

If no fetal heartbeat is detected, you would not need an abortion but would be referred for medical treatment instead.

The location of your pregnancy also impacts viability. If your healthcare provider detects a heartbeat by ultrasound, but the pregnancy is located outside of your uterus (i.e., in the fallopian tube), your pregnancy is also not viable. An ectopic pregnancy, a pregnancy implanted in the fallopian tube, is a medical emergency and requires immediate intervention.

The fetal heart rate also impacts the viability of your pregnancy. Research reveals that if an ultrasound detects a very low heart rate, called embryonic bradycardia, the rate of miscarriage is significantly higher. If embryonic bradycardia is identified during your ultrasound appointment, you will likely be asked to return in about a week to repeat the test.

To Determine How Far Along You Are in Your Pregnancy

An ultrasound can accurately measure how many weeks pregnant you are. You can’t count on using only menstrual dates for accuracy because many women experience period-like bleeding while they are pregnant.

If your pregnancy is unexpected, and you are still gathering information about how you will proceed, you will need to know how far along you are because your options will partly depend on that.

To Determine If You Have a Single Pregnancy or Multiple Pregnancy

An ultrasound can also give you a valuable indication that you might be carrying a single or multiple pregnancy.

Get the Answers You Deserve

If you have had a positive home pregnancy test or think you might be pregnant, contact our compassionate team at Willow Womens Center. We provide licensed professional medical care, including pregnancy testing and ultrasounds at no cost to you. Reach out today by calling 608-312-2025 or by using our online scheduler.

When Is an Ultrasound Most Beneficial?
When Is an Ultrasound Most Beneficial

You have just learned you are pregnant. You did not expect it, and you never thought you would be wrestling with such a big decision. Now what? Where do you start looking for resources and accurate, unbiased answers to your questions?

You do not have to navigate this journey alone. Willow Womens Center will help you find the answers to your questions. We will walk with you, one step at a time, amidst the tremendous stress of an unexpected pregnancy. One of those steps will be an ultrasound, provided by our licensed medical professionals at no cost.

What is an Ultrasound?

A pregnancy ultrasound is a safe medical test that creates images on a screen using sound waves. These images supply important facts to help you make informed decisions about an unexpected pregnancy.

Pregnancy ultrasounds can be transabdominal or transvaginal.

  • Transabdominal ultrasound

A transabdominal ultrasound is external. First, the ultrasound technician uses a warm gel that is placed on your abdomen. Then, they move a small handheld ultrasound transducer across the gel on your belly. The transducer painlessly transmits sound waves that create an image on a nearby screen.

  • Transvaginal ultrasound

A transvaginal ultrasound is internal and used most often earlier in pregnancy because it provides more accurate images when the fetus is smallest. When you have a transvaginal ultrasound, the ultrasound technician gently inserts a small tampon-like transducer inserted into your vagina.

The technician can glean the information needed in the same way as a transabdominal ultrasound by viewing images transmitted onto a computer screen.

Your ultrasound images are studied by a physician who will provide a final report. The information you receive from your ultrasound provides invaluable answers to questions that will help guide you as you decide about your unexpected pregnancy.

Why an Ultrasound?

You now know the details of having a pregnancy ultrasound, but why would you need one, especially if you are considering an abortion? We will answer that question next.

An ultrasound determines pregnancy viability, your conception date, gestational age, and if you have a multiple pregnancy.

  • Pregnancy viability

Most likely, you discovered you were pregnant by taking a home pregnancy test. A pregnancy test lets you know that the hCG pregnancy hormone was detected in your urine, but it does not tell you if your pregnancy is viable — or healthy. You can have a positive pregnancy test along with a nonviable pregnancy.

A nonviable pregnancy has no likelihood of surviving. This can happen if the pregnancy has implanted outside of the uterus (i.e., an ectopic pregnancy) or if no fetal heartbeat is detected. Why would you want to know this? Because up to 25% of known pregnancies are nonviable and end in miscarriage, and if your pregnancy is nonviable, it changes the options available to you when your pregnancy is unintended.

To summarize, an ultrasound is an essential follow-up step after you have a positive pregnancy test because a pregnancy test alone does not confirm a viable pregnancy — only an ultrasound will tell you if your pregnancy is viable or not. And this is crucial information to have before making a decision about an unexpected pregnancy.

  • Conception date and gestational age

An ultrasound also determines an accurate date of conception. That means when you became pregnant and informs you about how far along you are in your pregnancy.

If your pregnancy is unexpected, and you are considering abortion, this information is particularly important to have since different options are available to you depending on gestational age (how many weeks pregnant you are). So knowing what stage of pregnancy you are in is critical for you to make an educated decision.

  • Multiple pregnancy

About 1 in every 250 natural pregnancies are with twins; that is information you probably want to have. After a positive pregnancy test, an ultrasound can tell if you have a multiple pregnancy.

Ultrasound Timing

Now that we have looked at what an ultrasound is and why it is essential to follow up your pregnancy test with an ultrasound, we can discuss timing. When is an ultrasound most beneficial?

A pregnancy ultrasound should be performed after it has been six weeks since the first day of your last period. This ensures that your pregnancy is far enough along to provide accurate and valuable information.

If you have an ultrasound less than six weeks after the first day of your last period, it can lead to confusion. Sometimes, even if you have a viable pregnancy, the ultrasound does not detect it before six weeks. When this happens, it can increase your anxiety as it leaves you wondering.

If you are early in your pregnancy and the ultrasound is inconclusive, meaning your healthcare provider cannot determine if the pregnancy is viable or not, you can make an appointment in another week or two for a follow-up ultrasound.

There are several reasons why a viable pregnancy would not be detected on ultrasound:

  • The pregnancy is too early to detect
  • Conception occurred later in your menstrual cycle
  • Mistaken last missed period date
  • Larger abdomen
  • Tipped uterus

The last thing you need right now is to add to your stress by having to face more uncertainty and waiting after an inconclusive ultrasound. So, be sure to schedule your pregnancy ultrasound appointment at least six weeks or longer after the first day of your last period when the ultrasound is most beneficial.

Rest assured that waiting six weeks will not limit your options for an unintended pregnancy in any way. You will still have the same choices available to you, but you will have more accurate information to make your choices with.

Get Reliable Support

Call (608) 312-2025, or make a confidential appointment online with Willow Womens Center today. We understand that you can feel bombarded with information, facts, and conflicting advice when you are facing an unexpected pregnancy.

Our compassionate advocates and licensed medical professionals are available to answer your questions in a judgment-free environment. We are committed to empowering you, so you can feel good about making an informed decision.

Signs and Symptoms of an Incomplete Abortion
woman sitting on a couch holding her midsection in pain after an incomplete abortion

At Willow Womens Center, we understand the stress and overwhelm that accompany unplanned pregnancies. On top of deciding the future for your baby, you also have to consider the risk you are accepting for yourself with each option. All options come with inherent risk. Unfortunately, some women who make the difficult choice to terminate their pregnancy end up experiencing an unexpected complication: incomplete abortion.

Women and couples who find out they are expecting typically have three options:

  • Choosing to continue the pregnancy and raise the child, which involves significant responsibility but can be rewarding with the right support and resources
  • Carrying the pregnancy to term and then placing the child with adoptive parents, where you can choose whether to maintain contact with the child or not
  • Terminating the pregnancy through surgical or medical interventions, which is typically only available if the pregnancy is still in early stages

The decision to have an abortion is a complex and deeply personal one based on emotional readiness for parenting, personal beliefs, financial circumstances, and more. Pregnancy options counseling, community support services, and parenting classes can offer tremendous support during the decision-making process. The more you know, the easier it is to make an informed decision.

In this blog, we will explore incomplete abortions in depth. We will discuss what an incomplete abortion is, what causes it, the signs and symptoms, when to see a doctor and more.

What is an Incomplete Abortion?

First, it is important to understand abortion. Abortion refers to the termination of a pregnancy, resulting in the removal or expulsion of the products of conception and preventing further development and potential birth. Abortion can be performed using medication to induce the termination of pregnancy for women who are less than 10 weeks pregnant. It can also be performed surgically through procedures like vacuum aspiration, dilation and curettage (D&C) and dilation and evacuation (D&E).

Just like its name suggests, an incomplete abortion occurs when your medical or surgical abortion fails to fully remove all pregnancy and fetal tissue from your womb. This remaining tissue can lead to problems and complications. In some cases, a viable pregnancy remains.

What Causes an Incomplete Abortion

Incomplete abortions occur most often when the abortion pill – or medications used to induce abortion – are taken too late in pregnancy. This can happen if the pregnancy isn’t confirmed before the abortion pill is prescribed. It can also happen if you take the abortion pill without receiving corresponding medical care. This is most common when the pill is ordered online or received from someone who is not authorized to give it to you.

Incomplete surgical abortions can be caused by anatomical differences that make it more challenging to remove all of the productions of conception. Complications during the procedure can also increase your risk.

It is imperative to have an ultrasound examination before an abortion procedure. Seek guidance from a qualified medical professional to prevent this and other serious complications.

What are the Symptoms of an Incomplete Abortion

After your medical or surgical abortion, follow your provider’s instructions for recovery.

It is normal to experience some cramping and bleeding after a medical or surgical abortion. Symptoms that might indicate there is still some tissue remaining include:

woman placing her hand to her temple, she is grimacing in pain after an incomplete abortion
  • continued or heavy bleeding beyond what is expected after an abortion
  • persistent or increasing abdominal or pelvic pain, which might be accompanied by cramping
  • a fever higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
  • passing large clots or visible tissue that seems to be different from what you expect after an abortion
  • foul-smelling discharge
  • signs of pregnancy after abortion like breast tenderness, fatigue, or nausea that persist after the procedure

What to Do if You are Having These Symptoms

If you think you might have an incomplete abortion, see a doctor as soon as possible. If you develop a fever after a surgical or medical abortion, seek emergency medical attention.

How Likely is an Incomplete Abortion?

Almost half of all abortions are unsafe. Unsafe abortions are most likely to result in serious and life-threatening complications.

The likelihood of incomplete abortion is substantially lowered when you partner with a qualified team to determine the gestational age of the fetus before moving forward with an abortion and, if you choose, plan and carry out the termination of pregnancy. Only take medications prescribed to you by a doctor who is treating you.

Sometimes, anatomical abnormalities lead to this complication in even the safest situations.

Treatment for Incomplete Abortion

First, an ultrasound is required to confirm if tissue remains in the uterus after your procedure. Then, there are three primary approaches to incomplete abortion:

  • monitoring ongoing hCG levels and preparing for a potentially successful pregnancy
  • removing the remnants of the pregnancy through vacuum aspiration, an outpatient procedure
  • removing the remnants of the pregnancy through the administration of medication

In some cases, women go on to have healthy pregnancies and deliveries after a failed abortion. The team at Willow Womens Center has helped women in this situation understand their options, get the care they need and prepare to parent their children.

Do you think you might be pregnant? Willow Womens Center offers free, compassionate services for women and couples facing unplanned pregnancy, including:

  • STI screening and treatment
  • early ultrasounds to confirm pregnancy and gestational age
  • pregnancy options counseling to help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of all of the options available to you
  • parenting classes
  • free disposable diapers for women in need through their Diaper Assistance Program

The more you know about all of the options available to you as you embark on this journey, the more likely you are to make the best option for you and your family. Whether you are considering your options, need information, or are seeking healthcare, we can help. Schedule your free consultation appointment today online or by calling Willow Womens Center at 608-312-2025. Our compassionate team is here to listen and help.

Why Are Prenatal Vitamins Important?
a pregnant woman wearing a yellow dress, taking prenatal vitamins

When you find out that you are expecting, one of the first tasks on your list will be selecting a prenatal vitamin. In this blog post, we discuss what prenatal vitamins are and the most important nutrients during pregnancy.

What are Prenatal Vitamins?

Many patients ask, “Why are prenatal vitamins important?” Just like your own body needs vitamins and minerals to function properly, a fetus needs certain vitamins and minerals to grow properly. A fetus can only get these nutrients through its mother, and its mother can get the nutrients she needs through her diet and supplemental vitamins.

Prenatal vitamins are multivitamins designed with the developing fetus in mind; they help bridge the gap if your diet lacks some of the vitamins and minerals required for development. They are typically bought over-the-counter and taken by mouth daily during pregnancy.

7 Essential Prenatal Vitamins

While having a balanced diet that provides as many vitamins and minerals as possible is important, certain nutrients are more critical during pregnancy. Those are folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin D, omega 3, iodine, and zinc. Here, we explore them in detail to better understand the role they play in pregnancy and some of the risks associated with deficiency.

1. Folic Acid

Folic acid is important in pregnancy because it supports healthy fetal development. This B vitamin is necessary for neural tube formation in the early stages of pregnancy, which eventually becomes the baby’s brain and spinal cord. A folic acid deficiency during the first trimester can cause neural tube defects like spina bifida, a serious genetic condition characterized by a wide range of physical and neurological issues.

Additionally, folic acid aids in DNA and red blood cell production.

2. Iron

Iron, which is responsible for making hemoglobin and transporting oxygen throughout the body, is vital during pregnancy. When you become pregnant, your blood volume will increase and more iron will be required to make more blood and supply your baby with oxygen.

Not getting enough iron through diet and supplements can lead to iron deficiency anemia, which can cause fatigue, breathing problems, fainting, sleep issues, and palpitations for the mother. Anemia also has a negative impact on the baby, increasing the risk of fetal death.

3. Calcium

Calcium is an important nutrient for both mother and baby. Both need calcium for blood clotting, muscle function, and nerve transmission, while the baby also needs adequate calcium to develop strong bones and a functioning nervous system. If the mother’s diet lacks calcium, the mother’s body will draw calcium from her bones to supply it for the baby, leading to maternal bone density loss.

To help increase the likelihood that the baby will have enough calcium, the mother’s digestive system increases absorption of calcium during pregnancy. That means you will absorb more calcium from the foods and supplements that enter your body when you are pregnant than you will from those you eat or take when you are not pregnant. Taking calcium supplements during pregnancy can also help prevent preeclampsia and preterm birth.

4. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important during pregnancy because it aids in calcium absorption, supports the immune system, regulates cell growth, prevents pregnancy complications like preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, and improves maternal mood and mental health. While you can get some vitamin D from sunlight and foods like fortified cereal and milk, most expectant mothers need to take prenatal vitamins to get enough vitamin D in the diet during pregnancy.

Vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy can impair fetal bone development, reduce maternal bone density, put both mom and baby at higher risk of infection, and increase your risk of preterm birth, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes.

5. Omega 3

Two omega-3 fatty acids, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) play a pivotal role in fetal development and maternal and fetal health. These fatty acids are needed for fetal brain and eye development and the mother’s heart health and can reduce the risk of preterm birth. Omega-3 deficiency can lead to reduced behavioral and neurological function for the baby, impaired eye and brain development, and increased risk of preterm birth along with potential mood disorders in the mother.

You can get omega-3 fatty acids in your diet by eating fatty fish like salmon, sardines, trout, and mackerel but many women also need a supplemental prenatal vitamin.

6. Iodine

Iodine is important in pregnancy for a multitude of reasons: it supports the mother’s thyroid hormone production, is essential for fetal brain development, and supports the mother’s overall health and well-being, which is crucial for a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

Most prenatal vitamins contain iodine, but it is still a good idea to check with your healthcare provider to ensure you are getting as much iodine as recommended. Dietary sources of iodine like iodized salt, seafood, and dairy products, can also contribute to daily requirements. Please note, that too much iodine can have adverse effects.

7. Zinc

Zinc aids in maternal health, wound healing, enzyme function, and immune support. Perhaps most importantly, zinc is critical for the formation of DNA and RNA, cell division, and tissue repair which can prevent birth defects like cleft lip, cleft palate, and neural tube defects. You can find zinc in prenatal vitamins and lean meats, seafood, poultry, nuts, legumes, and dairy products.

Schedule an Appointment

the woman has discovered why are prenatal vitamins important

To learn more about prenatal vitamins or work through the difficult decisions that follow an unexpected pregnancy – with compassionate and empathetic support, schedule an appointment at Willow Womens Center today. We offer STI screening, pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, free parenting classes, free diapers, and more. We can also answer questions about your options following an unexpected pregnancy – adoption, abortion, and parenting – and point you toward other agencies and resources who can help.